June 22nd, 2024

Peace bond issued in bear spray road rage incident

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 22, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge man who helped his friend flee after he assaulted another man two months ago, caught a break and avoided a jail sentence.

Justin Arthur Hovan was placed on a one-year, $500 no-cash common law peace bond Monday in Lethbridge provincial court, after he pleaded guilty to one charge of aiding in an assault with a weapon against another person.

Entering into a peace bond is essentially a promise to the court that an offender will keep the peace and observe any other conditions for a specified period of time. A breach of conditions could result in a criminal charge.

Court was told Hovan and his friend were driving around the city when they believed they had been cut off by another motorist driving a fuel truck. Hovan’s friend, who was a passenger, became upset and a brief incident of “road rage” ensued before the motorists drove off.

“Then, through sheer bad luck…they end up in a parking lot with the same fuel truck and the same driver,” Crown Prosecutor James Rouleau explained.

Hovan’s friend got out of the vehicle and went after the driver of the fuel truck and sprayed him in the face with bear spray. He ran back to Hovan’s vehicle and they sped away.

Rouleau pointed out Hovan may not have known what his friend was about to do, but when his friend returned to the vehicle and said they needed to leave, Hovan, at that point, became the get-away driver.

Police subsequently spoke with Hovan, who provided them with details of the incident and confessed to his involvement.

Hovan’s friend, Rouleau noted, was previously handed a suspended sentence with probation, which Judge Timothy Hironaka pointed out was a lenient sentence.

“He got off pretty easy, as well,” Hironaka said. He added, however, the proposed sentence by the Crown and defence for a peace bond for Hovan made more sense considering what his friend received.

“With that as a backdrop, maybe what you’re suggesting isn’t quite so ridiculous.”

Duty counsel lawyer Jeremy DeBow said the two men are no longer friends, and agreed with the judge who said Hovan’s confession and co-operation with police warrant some credit.

Hironaka suggested most people, depending on the circumstances, succumb to at least a little bit of road rage, but Hovan and his friend went too far.

“Unfortunately it’s just part of the flawed human condition that we all suffer from. But to go to that end, that is ridiculous.”

Hironaka said a good friend would have calmed the other friend down.

“In the future if that opportunity arises, hopefully you’ll take the opportunity to calm the waters, not inflame the situation.”

“Absolutely, your honour,” Hovan replied.

Hironaka also gave Hovan a warning.

“You received a break from the system, and I’m going to accept that you’re deserving of it, but don’t push your luck.”

A condition of Hovan’s peace bond is that he not have any contact with the truck driver.

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